Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween

Do I have to take her again?
Every child I knew in elementary school looked forward to Halloween, the first true holiday of the new school year. I didn't count Columbus Day. That day was just another lesson to learn. Yes, my classmates and I were expected at school, but no one I knew missed Halloween. A sense of anticipation filled the hallowed halls of education as students arrived in costume. No scary masks of course, but for one day everyone could become someone else, someone powerful, or scary, or wonderful. Oh! To be a princess for the class-to-class parade!

How much learning took place is anyone's guess when every student knew the room mother was bringing treats for the afternoon party. I remember a lot of cutting out of black triangles to paste as eyes, nose and mouth onto lopsided pumpkins drawn onto orange construction paper, but coloring mimeographed sheets of hissing black cats was my favorite activity. Boys made the scary noises their costumes demanded, and girls squealed in mock fright; add in cupcakes, cookies, corn candy, and oh my, what a fun time! In spite of everything I waited impatiently--hurry up clock, and ring your end of day bell!

A brisk autumn breeze usually made traipsing home in outlandish garb a exciting precursor to trick or treating. I had to keep a tight grip on the pumpkin and cat art created in class to give my mom. At home, I answered the summons to the door. "Trick or treat, give me something good to eat." The babies under five usually went trick or treating before dark, and a mom or dad waited on the sidewalk to walk them to the next house, otherwise they might get lost. Being allowed to go out with my big brother after dark meant I was big enough to face the night's specters--a sure sign I was nearly grown up. Jim, my big brother, was my guide, at turn stern and superior protector who filled me with warnings of what might happen if I didn't follow his advice to the letter, or prickly trickster telling woeful horrible tales of Halloween happenings to other unwary trick or treaters. Jim didn't do short stints of candy collecting. The more houses we hit, the better. We must have gone to at least a hundred!

Back home we emptied our pillowcases on the living room floor, comparing piles, eating the best offerings and giving mom or dad a few desired pieces. Jim's pile was inevitably larger. How did he do that? Where had he gone that I hadn't?

Later mom made us take baths to get the make-up off, but Jim's lipstick Indian war paint stained his skin the next day. Going to sleep seemed impossible, no matter how tired I was. I never dreamed of Christmas sugar plums, didn't even know what they were. But wow, Halloween candy? It kept me awake at night. Particularly because I knew tricky Jim might trade out his favorites from my candy collection for the yucky butterscotch taffy in his.

All in all, Jim added the spooky and special to my Halloween memories, which made both him and Halloween unforgettable. Thank God for irritating big brothers!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Welcome Sandra Cox


I am pleased to welcome fellow author Sandra Cox to my blog to tell you about her new novel ~ Rhobin


Sandra: I've been enamored of two things all my life: fantasy and heroes. Do the two go hand in hand? Yes and no. Fantasies always have heroes. They can be anything we make them. And in our stories, no matter the challenge, they always succeed. But heroes exist in real life as well. Some are icons. Others are quiet unsung heroes: soldiers who put their life on the line everyday, parents who would sacrifice anything for a child, the neighbor that lends a helping hand, the kidney or bone-marrow donor, the grumpy old man who takes in a starving, stray kitten or the firefighter who brings a child out of a burning building. The list goes on and on. 
SUNDIAL is a fictional fantasy based on heroes. I have always found the history of Texas fascinating, the men who defended the Alamo larger than life. These men knowingly laid down their lives to buy time for their comrades. True heroes.
In SUNDIAL, Sarah Miles finds an ancient sundial. When she touches it, she is transported back to the battle of San Jacinto.
Excerpt:
Sarah looked around disoriented, her breath coming in ragged gasps. The last thing she remembered was finding the sundial in a clearing, surrounded by thick overgrown bushes. The day had been crisp and clear. Now, a blue haze of gunpowder hung in the air, filling her nose and mouth, making her eyes water.
A sharp burst of gunfire sounded nearby. Cries of, "Remember the Alamo. Remember Goliad," echoed through the air.
"Oh, my God." Still clutching Monet, she stumbled to her feet. It just wasn't possible. But possible or not, the vortex had plucked her up and sat her down in Texas a century earlier.  

Contest:
For a chance to win an autographed copy of SUNDIAL, a 'seeing' pendant and a $10  Starbucks gift card just go to MY BLOG and leave a comment that mentions Rhobin and Sundial. The contest runs from October 15 - November 14 at 5:00 p.m.
Hostess's of the Sundial Blog Tour are invited to enter.

Thank you, Sandra, for visiting my blog. I'm sure readers will want to the very generous prize package, and a fascinating concept for a story.